Holding Antisemites Accountable.

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Florida Chabad Jewish Center Vandalized

UPDATE July 7, 2023: Three of the people arrested are under the age of 18. The fourth, Kessler Ferry, is an 18-year-old. Ferry is charged with one count of felony criminal mischief enhanced to a hate crime. The four teenagers accumulated 24 charges for the multiple vandalisms; more here.

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Pensacola’s Chabad Jewish Center was designed to bring Pensacola’s Jewish community together.

That spirit of unity was tested Monday, when, according to center officials, a brick covered with antisemitic messages came crashing through the center’s window.

Swastikas, “No Jews,” and “WLM,” or White Lives Matter, were scribbled all around the brick before it came hurtling toward two visiting rabbis who were preparing dinner in the kitchen, according to Pensacola Rabbi Mendel Danow. NGO StopAntisemitism shared the images of the incident with their followers on Twitter.

After contacting Danow and local law enforcement, the two young rabbis tried to get a glimpse of the perpetrator, but said the person ran off toward their vehicle parked behind a nearby business, according to Danow.

Pensacola Police Department’s public information officer Mike Wood confirmed that police are currently investigating the incident that occurred at the Jewish Center at 919 N. 12th Ave.

Prior to Monday’s incident, Danow said he has never personally experienced any acts of antisemitic hate in Pensacola.

Neighboring East Hill Animal Hospital, however, was marked with antisemitic graffiti only two days before the Jewish Center was targeted.

Danow does not plan to dwell on the message of hate, nor does he encourage Pensacola’s Jewish community to. Instead, he plans on amplifying the center’s message of light even louder, starting with a Shabbos of light ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Friday followed by a Shabbat service and dinner. The idea was modeled after Rabbi Menachem Schneersohn, known as “Rebbe,” who was the most influential Rabbi of the 21st century and founded the Chabad Jewish Centers, of which there now over 5,000 of spanning 110 countries, according to Danow.

“He (Schneersohn) very much pushed this idea and educated the followers in his path that don’t just think about yourself, don’t be focused on your own good. Let’s go out and do good in the entire world,” Danow said.

Although there will be increased security at the gathering, Danow said while he is being cautious, but he is not fearful.

“You’re trying to silence us, you’re trying to make us scared — we’re going to do exactly the opposite,” Danow said of the perpetrator. “We’re going to enlarge our activities in town and expand them and reach more people and bring more kindness and more positivity to Pensacola.”

Danow is encouraging the community not only to attend the event, but to place symbols of light in their windows in solidarity, such as candles or photographs of a menorah.

This is an ongoing investigation.

Source: https://www.pnj.com/story/news/local/pensacola/2023/07/21/pensacola-chabad-jewish-center-responds-to-brick-being-thrown-into-window/70443208007/